A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Briefs: Materials
Novel Low-Density Ablators Containing Hyperbranched Poly(azomethine)s

An ablative composite is low-density (0.25 to 0.40 g/cm3), easy to fabricate, and superior to the current state-of-the-art ablator (phenolic impregnated carbon ablator, PICA) in terms of decomposition temperature, char yield, and mechanical strength. Initial...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Spectroelectrochemical Instrument Measures TOC

A spectroelectrochemical instrument has been developed for measuring the total organic carbon (TOC) content of an aqueous solution. Measurements of TOC are frequently performed in...

Briefs: Medical
Hydrofocusing Bioreactor Produces Anti-Cancer Alkaloids

A methodology for growing three-dimensional plant tissue models in a hydrodynamic focusing bioreactor (HFB) has been developed. The methodology is expected to be widely applicable, both on Earth and in outer space, as a means of growing plant cells and aggregates thereof under controlled...

Briefs: Medical
A Miniaturized Video System for Monitoring Drosophila Behavior

Long-term spaceflight may induce a variety of harmful effects in astronauts, resulting in altered motor and cognitive behavior. The stresses experienced by humans in space — most significantly weightlessness (microgravity) and cosmic radiation — are difficult to accurately...

Briefs: Information Technology
Evolutionary Computational Methods for Identifying Emergent Behavior in Autonomous Systems

A technique based on Evolutionary Computational Methods (ECMs) was developed that allows for the automated optimization of complex computationally modeled systems, such as autonomous systems. The primary technology, which enables the ECM to find optimal...

Briefs: Information Technology
Sampling Theorem in Terms of the Bandwidth and Sampling Interval

An approach has been developed for interpolating non-uniformly sampled data, with applications in signal and image reconstruction. This innovation generalizes the Whittaker-Shannon sampling theorem by emphasizing two assumptions explicitly (definition of a band-limited function and...

Briefs: Information Technology
Spatial Query for Planetary Data

Science investigators need to quickly and effectively assess past observations of specific locations on a planetary surface. This innovation involves a location-based search technology that was adapted and applied to planetary science data to support a spatial query capability for mission operations software.

Briefs: Information Technology
Optimal Padding for the Two-Dimensional Fast Fourier

One-dimensional Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) operations work fastest on grids whose size is divisible by a power of two. Because of this, padding grids (that are not already sized to a power of two) so that their size is the next highest power of two can speed up operations. While this works...

Briefs: Information Technology
Safe Onboard Guidance and Control Under Probabilistic Uncertainty

An algorithm was developed that determines the fuel-optimal spacecraft guidance trajectory that takes into account uncertainty, in order to guarantee that mission safety constraints are satisfied with the required probability. The algorithm uses convex optimization to solve for...

Briefs: Information Technology
Hidden Statistics of Schrödinger Equation

Work was carried out in determination of the mathematical origin of randomness in quantum mechanics and creating a hidden statistics of Schrödinger equation; i.e., to expose the transitional stochastic process as a “bridge” to the quantum world. The governing equations of hidden statistics would...

Briefs: Information Technology
Higher Order Mode Coupling in Feed Waveguide of a Planar Slot Array Antenna

A simple technique was developed to account for the higher order mode coupling between adjacent coupling slots in the feed waveguide of a planar slot array. The method uses an equation relating the slot impedance to the slot voltage and a reaction integral involving the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wireless Orbiter Hang-Angle Inclinometer System

A document describes a system to reliably gather the hang-angle inclination of the orbiter. The system comprises a wireless handheld master station (which contains the main station software) and a wireless remote station (which contains the inclinometer sensors, the RF transceivers, and the remote...

Briefs: Information Technology
Meteoroid/Orbital Debris Shield Engineering Development Practice and Procedure

A document describes a series of models created for the determination of the probability of survival of critical spacecraft components from particle strike damage caused by hyper-velocity impact of meteoroids and/or orbital debris. These models were integrated with...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Internal Electrostatic Discharge Monitor — IESDM

A document discusses an innovation designed to effectively monitor dielectric charging in spacecraft components to measure the potential for discharge in order to prevent damage from internal electrostatic discharge (IESD). High-energy electrons penetrate the structural materials and shielding...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Self-Balancing, Optical-Center-Pivot, Fast-Steering Mirror

A complete, self-contained fast-steering-mirror (FSM) mechanism is reported consisting of a housing, a mirror and mirror-mounting cell, three PZT (piezoelectric) actuators, and a counterbalance mass. Basically, it is a comparatively stiff, two-axis (tip-tilt), self-balanced FSM. Prior...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Continuous-Integration Laser Energy Lidar Monitor

This circuit design implements an integrator intended to allow digitization of the energy output of a pulsed laser, or the energy of a received pulse of laser light. It integrates the output of a detector upon which the laser light is incident. The integration is performed constantly, either by...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
n-B-pi-p Superlattice Infrared Detector

A specially designed barrier (B) is inserted at the n-pi junction [where most G-R (generation-recombination) processes take place] in the standard n-pi-p structure to substantially reduce generation-recombination dark currents. The resulting n-B-pi-p structure also has reduced tunneling dark currents,...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Monolithic, High-Speed Fiber-Optic Switching Array for Lidar

Current fiber switch technologies use mechanical means to redirect light beams, resulting in slow switch time, as well as poor reliability due to moving parts wearing out quickly at high speeds. A non-mechanical ability to switch laser output into one of multiple fibers within a fiber...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Radius of Curvature Measurement of Large Optics Using Interferometry and Laser Tracker

The determination of radius of curvature (ROC) of optics typically uses either a phase measuring interferometer on an adjustable stage to determine the position of the ROC and the optics surface under test. Alternatively, a spherometer or a profilometer are...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Miniaturized Airborne Imaging Central Server System

In recent years, some remote-sensing applications require advanced airborne multi-sensor systems to provide high performance reflective and emissive spectral imaging measurement rapidly over large areas. The key or unique problem of characteristics is associated with a black box back-end system...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Creep Measurement Video Extensometer

Understanding material behavior under load is critical to the efficient and accurate design of advanced aircraft and spacecraft. Technologies such as the one disclosed here allow accurate creep measurements to be taken automatically, reducing error.

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
General Tool for Evaluating High-Contrast Coronagraphic Telescope Performance Error Budgets

The Coronagraph Performance Error Budget (CPEB) tool automates many of the key steps required to evaluate the scattered starlight contrast in the dark hole of a space-based coronagraph. The tool uses a Code V prescription of the optical train, and uses...

Briefs: Materials
Carbon Nanotubes on Titanium Substrates for Stray Light Suppression

A method has been developed for growing carbon nanotubes on a titanium substrate, which makes the nanotubes ten times blacker than the current state-of-the-art paints in the visible to near infrared. This will allow for significant improvement of stray light performance in...

CgWind is a new, high-fidelity simulation tool designed to meet the modeling requirements of advanced wind energy resources. These new resources, targeting 20% of the US...

An enhanced thin-film silicon photovoltaic device with improved efficiency has been developed. Thin-film silicon solar cells suffer from low material absorption...

An active thermal control system architecture has been modified to include a regenerative heat exchanger (regenerator) inboard of the radiator. Rather than using a...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Multi-Mission Power Analysis Tool

Multi-Mission Power Analysis Tool (MMPAT) Version 2 simulates spacecraft power generation, use, and storage in order to support spacecraft design, mission planning, and spacecraft operations. It can simulate...

Briefs: Information Technology
Optimal Tuner Selection for Kalman-Filter-Based Aircraft Engine Performance Estimation

An emerging approach in the field of aircraft engine controls and system health management is the inclusion of real-time, onboard models for the inflight estimation of engine performance variations. This technology, typically based on Kalman-filter concepts,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Power-Combined GaN Amplifier With 2.28-W Output Power at 87 GHz

Future remote sensing instruments will require focal plane spectrometer arrays with higher resolution at high frequencies. One of the major components of spectrometers are the local oscillator (LO) signal sources that are used to drive mixers to down-convert received radio-frequency...

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